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Mohsin Hamid quotes Showing 1-30 of 360

“If you have ever, sir, been through a breakup of a romantic relationship that involved great love, you will perhaps understand what I experienced. There is in such situations usually a moment of passion during which the unthinkable is said; this is followed by a sense of euphoria at finally being liberated; the world seems fresh as if seen for the first time then comes the inevitable period of doubt, the desperate and doomed backpedaling of regret; and only later, once emotions have receded, is one able to view with equanimity the journey through which one has passed.”
Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
“We are all refugees from our childhoods. And so we turn, among other things, to stories. To write a story, to read a story, is to be a refugee from the state of refugees. Writers and readers seek a solution to the problem that time passes, that those who have gone are gone and those who will go, which is to say every one of us, will go. For there was a moment when anything was possible. And there will be a moment when nothing is possible. But in between we can create.”
Mohsin Hamid, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
“We are all migrants through time.”
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
tags: time
“when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind.”
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
“To love is to enter into the inevitability of one day not being able to protect what is most valuable to you.”
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
tags: love
“Time only moves in one direction. Remember that. Things always change.”
Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
“It seems an obvious thing to say, but you should not imagine that we Pakistanis are all potential terrorists, just as we should not imagine that you Americans are all undercover assassins.”
Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
“...he prayed fundamentally as a gesture of love for what had gone and would go and could be loved in no other way. When he prayed he touched his parents, who could not otherwise be touched, and he touched a feeling that we are all children who lose our parents, all of us, every man and woman and boy and girl, and we too will all be lost by those who come after us and love us, and this loss unites humanity, unites every human being, the temporary nature of our being-ness, and our shared sorrow, the heartache we each carry and yet too often refuse to acknowledge in one another, and out of this Saeed felt it might be possible, in the face of death, to believe in humanity's potential for building a better world, so he prayed as a lament, as a consolation, and as a hope....”
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
“She was struggling against a current that brought her inside herself.”
Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
“As a society, you were unwilling to reflect upon the shared pain that united you with those who attacked you. You retreated into myths of your own difference, assumptions of your own superiority. And you acted out these beliefs on the stage of the world, so that the entire planet was rocked by the repercussions of your tantrums, not least my family, now facing war thousands of miles away.”
Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
“Every time a couple moves they begin, if their attention is still drawn to one another, to see each other differently, for personalities are not a single immutable color, like white or blue, but rather illuminated screens, and the shades we reflect depend much on what is around us.”
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
“And so their memories took on potential, which is of course how our greatest nostalgias are born.”
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
“When the uncertain future becomes the past, the past in turn becomes uncertain.”
Mohsin Hamid, Moth Smoke
“I responded to the gravity of an invisible moon at my core, and I undertook journeys I had not expected to take.”
Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
“You're a watchful guy. you know where that comes from?" I shook my head. "It comes from feeling out of place," he said. "Believe me. I know.”
Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
“It might seem odd that in cities teetering at the edge of the abyss young people still go to class—in this case an evening class on corporate identity and product branding—but that is the way of things, with cities as with life, for one moment we are pottering about our errands as usual and the next we are dying, and our eternally impending ending does not put a stop to our transient beginnings and middles until the instant when it does.”
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
“I commit her to memory. When I'm alone, I feel a strange yearning, the hunger of a man fasting not because he believes but because he's ashamed. Not the cleansing hunger of the devout, but the feverish hunger of the hypocrite. I let her go every evening only because there's nothing I can do to stop her.”
Mohsin Hamid, Moth Smoke
“and when she went out it seemed to her that she too had migrated, that everyone migrates, even if we stay in the same houses our whole lives, because we can’t help it. We are all migrants through time.”
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
“The poets say some moths will do anything out of love for a flame
[...]
The moth takes off again, and we both step back, because he's circling at eye level now and seems to have lost rudder control, smacking into the wall on each round. He circles lower and lower, spinning around the candle in tighter revolutions, like a soap sud over an open drain. A few times he seems to touch the flame, but dances off unhurt.
Then he ignites like a ball of hair, curling into an oily puff of fumes with a hiss. The candle flame flickers and dims for a moment, then burns as bright as before.
Moth Smoke Lingers.”
Mohsin Hamid, Moth Smoke
“In this group, everyone was foreign, and so, in a sense, no one was.”
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
“It's in being read that a book becomes a book, and in each of a million different readings a book become one of a million different books . . .”
Mohsin Hamid, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
“But when you read a book, what you see are black squiggles on pulped wood or, increasingly, dark pixels on a pale screen. To transform these icons into characters and events, you must imagine. And when you imagine, you create.”
Mohsin Hamid, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
“She attracted people to her; she had presence, an uncommon magnetism. Documenting her effect on her habitat, a naturalist would likely have compared her to a lioness: strong, sleek, and invariably surrounded by her pride.”
Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
“Readers don’t work for writers. They work for themselves.”
Mohsin Hamid, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
“It has been said that depression is a failure to imagine a plausible desirable future for oneself, and, not just in Marin, but in the whole region, in the Bay Area, and in many other places too, places both near and far, the apocalypse appeared to have arrived and yet it was not apocalyptic, which is to say that while the changes were jarring they were not the end, and life went on, and people found things to do and ways to be and people to be with, and plausible desirable futures began to emerge, unimaginable previously, but not unimaginable now, and the result was something not unlike relief.”
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
“Four thousand years ago, we, the people of the Indus River basin, had cities that were laid out on grids and boasted underground sewers, while the ancestors of those who would invade and colonize America were illiterate barbarians.”
Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
“And I ask myself what it is about me that makes this wonderful, beautiful woman return. Is it because I'm pathetic, helpless in my current state, completely dependent on her? Or is it my sense of humour, my willingness to tease her, to joke my way into painful, secret places? Do I help her understand herself? Do I make her happy? Do I do something for her that her husband and son can't do? Has she fallen in love with me?

As the days pass and I continue to heal, my body knitting itself back together, I begin to allow myself to think that she has.”
Mohsin Hamid, Moth Smoke
“...status, as in any traditional, class-conscious society, declines more slowly than wealth.”
Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
“The ruins proclaim the building was beautiful.”
Mohsin Hamid
“While they wished to look out for each other, and to keep tabs on each other, staying in touch took a toll on them, serving as an unsettling reminder of a life not lived, and also they grew less worried each for the other, less worried that the other would need them to be happy, and eventually a month went by without any contact, and then a year, and then a lifetime.”
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West

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Exit West Exit West
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